• Here are some great resources to use:

    1. Between the Lions

    Age Range: Preschool to 1st grade
    Publisher: PBS
    Format: Videos
    Cost: Free

    PBS LearningMedia hosts some terrific educational material for children, and its Between the Lions video resources are among the best. There are read-along folktales and fables with a twist, clever song videos of letter sounds, and many more amusing stories and catchy songs to capture kids' attention. The videos are short, with most ranging from 20 seconds to 6 minutes in length, so it's easy for children to watch a variety of them—or to re-watch a favorite several times.

    Skills Covered

    • The videos for preschoolers cover phonological awareness, letter knowledge awareness, vocabulary and language development, and even book and print awareness (like the catchy "Reason to Read" video).
    • The videos for K–1 students incorporate the basic building blocks of reading skills using phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension.

     

    2. Starfall

    Age Range: Pre-K to 3rd grade
    Publisher: Starfall Education Foundation
    Format: Read-along library, games, interactive activities
    Cost: Free, although some materials require a paid subscription

    Starfall Education (a nonprofit that focuses on free and low-cost learning resources for children) has created an engaging group of games and activities that range from the ABCs to fables. The stories and poems can be read by the narrator or by your child, with or without assistance. Your child can read the text on the screen and click on a word they need help with.

    The reading material includes simple sentences, short stories, poems, plays, fiction, nonfiction, comics, folk tales, Greek myths, and Chinese fables. The phonics section includes videos to illustrate letter sounds and patterns.

    Skills Covered

    • Phonemic awareness
    • Systematic sequential phonics
    • Common sight words
    • Decoding practice
    • Word recognition
    • Fluency

     

    3. StoryPlace

    Age Range: Pre-K to K
    Publisher: Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
    Format: Read-along library, activities, videos
    Cost: Free

    StoryPlace is an award-winning digital learning library hosted by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system in North Carolina. The site is fully available in both English and Spanish.

    Beginning readers choose from 15 story themes:

    Animals
    Firefighters
    Pets
    Babies
    Fish
    Shapes
    Bath Time
    Gorillas
    Teddy Bears
    Colors
    Monkeys
    Trains
    Crocodiles
    Music
    Wheels
     

    These animated read-along stories engage children with songs and rhymes. Each story is accompanied by several other online and offline activities for kids on the same theme. You'll also get suggestions for related library books to read with your child.

    Skills Covered

    • Early literacy
    • Book awareness
    • Vocabulary

     

    4. Storyline Online

    Age Range: K to 3rd grade
    Publisher: SAG-AFTRA Foundation
    Format: Videos narrated by famous actors
    Cost: Free

    The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Foundation has a wonderful story read-along website called Storyline Online. Well-known SAG actors of all ages read more than 50 popular children's picture books. The narration is accompanied by illustrations from the book. Some of the stories use storybook cutout animation. Each book has accompanying lesson plan ideas and activities.

    Skills Covered

    • Early literacy
    • Book awareness
    • Reading comprehension
    • Verbal and written language skills

     

    5. ReadWriteThink Student Interactives

    Age Range: K to 2nd grade, with a few games for older readers
    Publisher: International Literacy Association and National Council of Teachers of English (ILA/NCATE)
    Format: Interactive games
    Cost: Free

    The ReadWriteThink Student Interactives site is jam-packed with lessons and interactive games for students of all ages who are learning reading and writing skills. For children learning to read English, there are seven interactive games (all of which are described below). Each student interactive is accompanied by lesson plans for use in the classroom or by homeschoolers.

    Skills Covered

    • ABC Match: In this game, kids match initial letters and letter sounds with pictures.
    • Construct-a-Word: Kids choose a word ending, then add beginning letters and letter blends to create a word bank.
    • Picture Match: Learners match a picture to a beginning letter or short- or long-vowel sounds.
    • Puzzle Me Words: Kids combine letters together to create words that describe the pictures shown on the screen (for example, they might create the word "web" to describe a spider web).
    • What's in the Bag?: This game helps kids develop vocabulary skills by listening to descriptive words to identify objects.
    • Word Family Sort: This game helps beginning and struggling readers recognize word patterns using onset and rime.
    • Word Wizards: With this game, learners develop their reading comprehension and spelling skills by using clues and scrambled letters from popular children's books.

     

    6. PBS Reading Games

    Age Range: Pre-K to 3rd grade
    Publisher: PBS Kids
    Format: Interactive games, read-along library
    Cost: Free

    PBS Kids has more than 70 reading games connected to characters from its popular television series, such as Sesame Street, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Martha Speaks, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, and Caillou. When your child successfully completes a game, many of them provide instant rewards, such as video clips or more fun games. This encourages children to keep playing and learning.

    Skills Covered

    The website's reading games include ABC, rhyming, vocabulary, and story games. Here are just a few examples:

    • In Story Book Builder, kids can make a book with Abby, Elmo, or Cookie Monster from Sesame Street by choosing where the character will go and what they will do. After your child designs the book, they can read it again or create a new one.
    • Kids can play Rhyme Racer with Wonder Red. They steer Red as she rollerblades to collect rhyming words (like cake, lake, and rake) and then help her incorporate those words into the story.
    • Children will learn vocabulary words related to space by helping Martha through her adventure in Socks in Space. The new words are reinforced by a funny game in which astronaut Martha collects socks in outer space while dodging extraterrestrial cats!

     

    7. WordWorld

    Age Range: Pre-K to 1st grade
    Publisher: WordWorld (a TV show for preschoolers)
    Format: Interactive books, games, videos, printable activities
    Cost: Free

    In WordWorld, words morph into the objects they name. That creates a powerful connection between the letters and the words they represent. Children are captivated by the vibrant colors and graphics in these interactive books, and it's an excellent vocabulary building site for beginning readers.

    Skills Covered

    • Vocabulary
    • Early literacy
    • Phonics

     

    8. Storynory

    Age Range: K to 5th grade
    Publisher: Storynory Ltd. (UK)
    Format: Audio stories
    Cost: Free

    With more than 600 audio stories, Storynory is a longtime favorite in the UK. It provides a broad range of original titles, fairy tales, myths, educational stories, poems, world stories, and classic authors. Children listen as they read along with the expressive storytellers. The stories also available via podcast.

    Skills Covered

    • Verbal language skills
    • Listening skills
    • Reading comprehension

     

    9. OxfordOWL

    Age Range: Pre-K to 5th grade
    Publisher: Oxford University Press (UK)
    Format: E-books
    Cost: Free, requires registration

    OxfordOWL is another site from the UK. It offers more than 100 free e-books that range from simple level-reader stories to more complex titles and layouts, such as How to Build a Castle. Each book is prefaced with guidance for teachers and parents, explaining the reading skills emphasized in the story. The book ends with more guidance for discussion and reading comprehension questions. Free registration is required to access the e-books.

    Skills Covered

    The specific skills emphasized vary based on the book, but they include:

    • Phonics
    • Early literacy
    • Reading comprehension
    • Vocabulary

     

    10. ABCya

    Age Range: Pre-K to 6th grade
    Publisher: IXL Learning
    Format: Games
    Cost: Free, though a subscription plan is available with more features

    ABCya offers reading games for a wide range of grade levels. You can browse by level, and each game is helpfully labeled with the appropriate age range. (For example, the Alphabats Rhyming Words game is marked suitable for Pre-K through 2nd grade students.) The site also links games to the Common Core Standards, and you can search for games that address each standard.

    The preschool games mostly focus on the alphabet, while higher-level games delve into more advanced topics like contractions, nouns and verbs, past tense, homophones, and adverbs. Many games feature colorful creatures, friendly narrators, and lively music to keep kids engaged.

    Skills Covered

    • Reading comprehension
    • Vocabulary
    • Fluency
    • Early literacy